Plan relies heavily on new ARPA funding rules that allow for disaster recovery projects.
Scranton residents can apply for up to $5,000 in flood relief funding per household following the September 9 storm event that impacted parts of Keyser Valley and North Scranton, officials announced on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Leveraging new rules on the use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, City Council recently approved a revised ARPA budget that allows for more than $2.5 million in disaster recovery and future flood mitigation projects.
“The new rules came at a time when Scranton residents needed the most help,” Mayor Paige G. Cognetti said. “By reallocating more than $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding, we are providing some financial relief from the September storm and enacting long-term plans to prevent future flooding across the City.”
The Scranton Area Community Foundation (SACF) is administering the Scranton ARPA Disaster Recovery Grant program. Residents can apply online at www.safdn.org/apply beginning on Monday, Oct. 30.
“The City of Scranton’s flood relief grants program, along with the Scranton Area Community Foundation’s Lackawanna County Flood Relief Fund, will fill some of the gaps that exist as individuals, nonprofit organizations, and businesses continue to recover from significant flood damages and associated costs,” SACF President and CEO Laura Ducceschi said. “The Foundation is grateful for the generosity of the many organizations, businesses, and individuals who contributed to the Flood Relief Fund. Lackawanna County and the City of Scranton are full of hard-working people whose neighbors do not hesitate to help when needed. As administrator of these grant programs, the Foundation is proud to work alongside the City to contribute to the recovery and resilience of our communities.”
To be eligible, applicants must have resided in one of the impacted areas on September 9 with priority given to residents who registered with the online damage assessment form created by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). Proof of insurance and other documents are also required. Disaster Recovery grants will allow for the reimbursement of costs related to property repair, appliance repair or replacement, debris removal, insurance deductibles, moving, and other eligible costs.
Scranton’s original ARPA plan called for $17,388,397 in various stormwater management and porous paving projects. Additionally, the original ARPA budget reserved $500,000 for the formation of a regional Stormwater Management Authority that would execute cooperative plans across municipalities to plan for and prevent events like September’s flash flood from reoccurring in the future.
The revised ARPA budget further supports those plans by adding more than $2.5 million for various flood recovery and mitigation efforts. Specifically, the revised budget dedicates unused and underused funding planned for lead and asbestos assessment and abatement, solar energy infrastructure, and multiple stormwater mitigation and porous paving projects directly into aid for emergency temporary housing assistance, individual disaster relief, and future flood mitigation.
ARPA budget revisions related to disaster recovery rely on interim final ARPA rules that became effective on September 20 and implement amendments to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. Along with natural disaster relief projects, the rules commonly referred to as ARPA FLEX allow for Surface Transportation projects and Title I projects.
Flood mitigation projects will rely on the findings of the September 2021 Keyser Valley Stormwater and Flood Mitigation Study prepared by Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. (GPI). That study called for more than $8.6 million in potential stormwater management improvements including, but not limited to, new water conveyance systems and a new pump station on Merrifield Avenue.
In the weeks following the September 9 flash flood, the City initiated recovery events offering resources to clean dirt and debris, food and gift certificates donated by Scranton’s small business community, vaccinations from Scranton Primary Health Care Center, and access to PEMA’s damage assessment form. Officials also participated in a Multi-Agency Response Center that was temporarily established at the Chinchilla Hose Company.
City officials are optimistic that proactive efforts in pursuing relief from PEMA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will yield results soon. If PEMA issues a disaster declaration for the region impacted by the September 2023 storm, including portions of the Abingtons, the City’s priority will be on preparing for future flood mitigation projects.
Residents who still have questions about the status of their home or their ability to repair structures should contact Scranton’s Engineering Project Coordinator Morgan Fetsock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570.504.4943.
Additional information about Scranton’s ARPA plan is online at scrantonpa.gov/arpa.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT (ARPA) OF 2021: ARPA is a $1.9 trillion federal economic stimulus bill. The City of Scranton received $68.7 million in ARPA funds to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts. The mission of Scranton’s ARPA program is to give people access to resources, rebuild the infrastructure systems that impact their everyday lives, and foster equitable wealth generation that targets the needs of Scranton residents.
Last modified: October 25, 2023